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Batch & Job Production

Koyo Machinery USA Inc.


Koyo Machinery is known for machines that last and service that is much more than standard.

The quality in centerless grinding machines from Koyo Machinery USA Inc. is not questioned throughout the industry. Customers understand these machines last for years, making them valued for their reliability. But Koyo’s dedication to excellence in its work extends to other areas, so the company is broadening its offering, as well as demonstrating that its level of service matches the quality in its machines.

“We provide high-precision grinding machines,” Service Manager Justin Helterbran says. “Our machines can do many different types of grinding, such as microcentric and slot grinders, and many companies haven’t seen these in the United States. There are a vast array of grinders that really haven’t touched the market over here, and we haven’t marketed them like they do in Japan. We are broadening what we offer and branching out into different industries and more technological clients like in medical and aerospace. We have a special grinder that does wafer grinding, and they use it a lot in Japan for circuit boards. We would like to do more of that over here, as well.”

When expanding in new markets, Koyo Machinery backs its precision grinders with engineering expertise and a high level of service. The company is happy to go to a customer’s facility and completely rebuild an older machine with new controls and technology, or even retool the existing machine to grind a similar part. Additionally, it is the only OEM rebuilder of Koyo spindles in the United States, and they must be rebuilt using the assembly techniques of the factory in which they were produced to achieve optimal life and performance.

“We are getting into more high-speed spindle rebuilds for machines that have integrated motors in the spindles,” Helterbran explains. “We have the capability to retrofit those machines on customer floors and overhaul them so they don’t have to ship the machines all the way back to us. I’ve visited many customers who have had our machines for quite a while – these could be 20-plus-year-old machines. The machines are still mechanically sound and don’t require much work.

“This is what Koyo is known for,” he adds. “You buy a Koyo grinder and know it will run for a long time, and the machines are outlasting the controls and electronics in the machine. There is a lot of interest in retrofitting the controls completely because it gives clients a great machine that will keep them running longer than their jobs will last.”

Strong Relationships

As budgets tighten across the manufacturing industry, the rebuild and remanufacturing part of Koyo’s business is quite busy. “Everyone has a maintenance budget, so it’s easier to get retrofits done,” General Manager Chris Clark explains. “With the age of a lot of our equipment out there, the controls on some of the equipment are at their age limit. You can’t buy some of the parts because they are obsolete or the technology is just not current enough.”

He notes Koyo is likely the only OEM to offer on-site retrofitting services on precision grinders. The company has its own spray booths and paint booths to really enhance existing machines. It also does its spindle rebuilds in its facility in Plymouth, Mich., and this includes bearing and hydrostatic spindles, as well as high-speed electric motor rebuilds.

“On some of the projects, the machine may be so old that it requires some mechanical upgrading to new designs so we can incorporate the new controls,” Helterbran says. “We can still do that on the customer’s floor, it just requires more in-depth engineering.”

The machining for Koyo’s equipment is all done at its parent company’s facility in Japan, but the Plymouth site takes care of its own precision ball screws. Because of customers’ tight tolerances and required specifications for quality, Koyo only outsources its controls and automation, although sometimes it can complete automation systems in-house. This way, the company has full control over its quality and can ensure a better machine. It then backs this up with service that is often unmatched in the industry.

“From a service standpoint, we try to develop relationships with customers,” Helterbran says. “From the operator to the engineering managers to the executives, we try to build relationships with everyone so we can relate to them and the issues they are having. Our service engineers see the issues first hand, and we go in treating everyone the same and helping as much as possible. The Koyo way is always ‘customer first,’ and we go above and beyond to make sure the customer is satisfied.”

This level of support is not standard in the industry, and combined with the quality of Koyo’s machinery, the company truly sets itself apart. “Our equipment, no matter where I go, always has positive reviews,” Helterbran adds. “Especially when talking about the older equipment – I never hear that a Koyo design is bad or the Koyo-designed machines don’t last. Everyone always compliments the machine design, and that is what I like to hear the most.

“But I’m also very proud of the service engineers and support team. From parts to rebuilds to services we offer – we can always rely on the factory to give us support or feedback as needed.”